18 Years in Web

I just realized I have been working on web stuff for 18 years.  There are employees here that are 18. Ugh, that makes me feel old.  Some fond memories:

  1. spacer.gif – When Netscape 2 came out and introduced the <TABLE> tag, I was thrilled.  I could make something that was actually designed.  However, I needed to make the tables stay exactly where I needed them.  Enter the 1×1 transparent gif that you could use to prop open a table at a certain width and it wouldn’t collapse.  Today min-width CSS solves the problem, but back then it was a miracle.
  2. CSS – Oh my god, I was so happy when I saw CSS.  Changed everything.  No more spacer.gif!
  3. Flash – Sucks now, but back then it was a miracle worker.  You could make anything.  Originally it was called Future Splash.  Such an interesting concept.  We mostly used it for nonsense like games and advertisements.
  4. Internet Explorer 6 – Rag on Microsoft all you want.  IE6 was awesome.  It was the dominant browser for YEARS!  It allowed us all to catch our breaths and reset.  We needed a stable couple of years and IE6 was it.  Sucks now, but back then it was great.  Pax Romana!
  5. Koko Interactive – I ran a web development company from 1995-2002.  So many memories there. Hotkoko is my favorite.  Way ahead of its time.  Too bad we sucked at marketing and sales.

Since then web development has become dramatically more complex.  Mobile devices have exploded.  Size of screen has gone all over the place.  PIxel densities, data speeds and more all have turned up the intensity of cross-device development.

So much has changed in 18 years, but so much has remained the same.  People still want things to be impressive, delightful, fast and 24/7 available.   People still build really bad stuff (and some good stuff).

I wonder what the next 18 years will bring.

2 Replies to “18 Years in Web”

  1. AGREE! I’ve been doing web stuff for about the same length of time, and it’s amazing to me how far we’ve come in a relatively short amount of time (the 18-year-olds notwithstanding).

    For me, I think the most important of these developments was CSS and with it the ability to separate the design and framework layers from the content layer with a global tool, changes to which would affect the entire site, not just the one line or page one was working on. The other points you mentioned were great, but eventually sucked. CSS continues not only to not suck, but to give us the ability to make truly incredible online experiences across multiple platforms and screen aspects.

  2. My time at Koko Interactive was probably some of the most valuable experience I’ve had, to-date. Between you, Spencer, and Ben Peters it was like having my own personal board of advisers on how to solve problems effectively. The things that I learned 13 years ago are things that I find other developers around me still don’t think about as part of their general development outlook.

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